Updated: May 14
Graduating nurses prepare to enter the war on COVID-19.
By Staff Writers Gene Wickham, Solomon Smith
May 13 Update: In his most recent Town Hall, Valley College President Barry Gribbons confirmed nursing students will be able to fulfill requirements by volunteering at COVID-19 testing locations.
“While I understand that there is still work to be done to secure necessary clinical sites, this is an important step,” Gribbons added.
Another show of support for the nursing program was announced when the LAVC Foundation was awarded $4,500 from the Foundation for California Community Colleges, in partnership with the CCC Chancellor’s Office from the First Response Healthcare Student Support Fund.
“This will provide 10 nursing students with $450 each,” Gribbons emphasized. “Raul [Castillo] acknowledged and thanked the LAVC Nursing Department, particularly Preetha Puthiakunnel and Erik Reyes. I want to join Raul in our thanks and to also add my thanks to the LAVC Foundation.”
Original story follows:
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many nursing students to miss vital clinical rotations, threatening their ability to matriculate, but Valley College has made adjustments to its program to ensure this year’s class graduates on schedule.
The Associate Degree Nursing Program at Valley offers a Registered Nurse (RN) program which enables their graduates to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEXRN) test. According to AllNursingSchools.com, this test enables RNs to apply for positions in the health industry. In addition, nurses can transfer to a four-year college to pursue the higher Nurse Practitioner degree. To qualify for any of these degrees, a nursing student needs practical clinical hours. Valley President Barry Gribbons was informed about a policy change to the clinical rotation requirements that will help students graduate on time.
“The Nursing Board did change the percentage of the clinical hours that could be done by simulation,” Gribbons said. “Hopefully it helps the students to graduate without too much of a delay.”
Because of the California State Nursing Board’s requirement with nursing simulations and clinical rotations, nursing students have been concerned with their timely graduation and their participation in stressed hospitals.
The school has other speciality medical programs like EMT and respiratory therapist. After the initial reports of COVID-19 from Washington State and Northern California in February, the looming health crisis became apparent. Stay-at-home orders and rising numbers of infected have led California Gov. Gavin Newsom to post orders asking for more volunteers to help with the pandemic — including qualified healthcare workers. On April 7, Newsom premiered the California Health Corp website, with links and information for signing up — https://covid19.ca.gov/healthcorps.
“We need you and we encourage you to take a look at that healthcorps.ca.gov website," Newsom said. He pointed out the website's simplicity using "five simple steps." The governor has included retirees, soon-to-graduate medical students including doctors, student nurses and more.
The White House recently projected the possible American virus death toll between 100,000 and 240,000. With the current situation expected to extend into the summer, states across the nation are requesting more medical assistance.
After 19 months pursuing the Registered Nursing degree, Valley nursing students are seeking answers. Gribbons understood their concerns. “I don’t think it can completely resolve any of the problems with any of the cohorts,” Gribbons responded, “but I do believe it will help.”
Because of the pandemic, the Valley Nursing program has extended its program application from April to May 20.